School funding heads to Milton-Freewater ballot


MILTON-FREEWATER — The Milton-Freewater School Board has agreed to seek a local option levy that would help pay for district maintenance and upkeep over the next five years.

The board on Tuesday unanimously approved a resolution to pursue a local option during a special election to be held May 21.

The levy would create a tax of $1 per $1,000 of assessed property value among residents, and draw about $300,000 in local dollars each of five years. District Interim Superintendent Jim Reger said the levy would also generate a 110 percent state match, for an additional $350,000 each year to benefit the School District. In all, the district would receive about $3.2 million over five years between the local tax and state match.

The levy requires a simple majority to pass. If approved, it would be the first school-based measure to be approved by voters in years.

Voters have rejected the last four bond measures presented to them dating to 2000. The past bonds, however, have been for replacing school buildings. The levy allows the district to use funds for more general improvements.

Funds generated from the levy could then be used to meet maintenance, security and safety needs, buy new curriculum materials, or update buses.

Reger pointed out the district has dedicated funds the last several years to maintain instruction and in-school programming, at the cost of facility maintenance. The district has seen lower revenue from the state, and has relied on district-wide cuts, loans and the use of reserve funds to balance its budget year after year, he said.

The board will work with community members and staff in the coming weeks to inform the public on the levy and the district’s maintenance needs.

Residents who qualify to vote but are not registered have until 21 days before the election to register in time.


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